Flourish festival organizer Jane Blanchard talks about the idea behind this year’s Halloween event, Perish.
Over the past year, Fredericton artist and musician Jane Blanchard has joined a growing number of event-driven arts organizers in creating unique and diverse experiences that merge visual art and music. Last spring she led organizing efforts to create the festival event, Flourish, “a showcase of artistic talent through collaborations of music, art, spoken word, photography, video, and much more”. This fall she is once again lending her organizing talents to help create the event, Perish, a Halloween Experience.
“I had been chatting with the folks up at ShiftWork about how they were thinking of doing a pop up show for Halloween,” said Blanchard. “That sparked the idea that it could be cool to have a music portion of it in conjunction with Flourish. I booked some bands to play at ShiftWork and word quickly got around that we were doing a Halloween event. I chatted with Zach [Atkinson] to see what was happening at The Capital to umbrella some of the events and as more people wanted to be involved, we expanded the events to cover more venues and added more in to the mix.”
Perish will take place mid-way through the year from Flourish, which debuted last spring. Although much smaller in scope – no weekend passes, fewer acts, events and venues – Perish will encompass a similar array of activities and help serve as a reminder to many of what’s to come when Flourish returns next spring.
“Perish is on a much smaller scale of Flourish and has a lot of differences because it’s more of an umbrellaing of mix-matched events as opposed to a solely curated festival,” said Blanchard. “I see Perish not so much as a festival, but as a Halloween experience over similar venues with mixed events.”
Perish will run October 29 – November 1 across five different venues and involve over 20 musical performances, an art show at the ShiftWork Studio and a storytelling event. The New Brunswick Craft Council’s annual Halloween themed fundraiser will also be included as part of the festivities.
“The New Brunswick Craft Council came to us prior to releasing our initial line up,” said Blanchard. “They host their annual Beer ‘n Stein event on October 30th and realized that Perish conflicted with a lot of the audience they would be looking to attract. We met and spoke about how we could collaborate, because that’s what we’re all about, and decided to have their event in Mazerolle Gallery below the ShiftWork studio. I think it is going to work out really well as it allows people attending the NBCC event to experience the ShiftWork show and vise-versa. Extra exposure and bringing potentially new audiences to both events will be great.”
Perish stands as another strong example of collaboration within the city’s arts community. By bringing together a number of corresponding events under one banner, each organisation involved stands to benefit from increased exposure and collaborative planning, which can lead to new partnerships and increased potential for future events.
“Our community loves to come together for fun things like this,” said Blanchard, “and we found a way to condense all the events pretty seamlessly to make a weekend experience out of it.”